An NFC team has inquired about trading for Panther wide receiver Steve Smith in advance of the NFL's trade deadline, which is Thursday at 4 p.m.
This is a deal the Panthers absolutely should not make. Smith is 33, yes, and he won't play for too many more years (he signed a three-year contract extension in April). But he remains the Panthers' best wide receiver, and because of his age the price the Panthers could extract from another team would not be nearly enough to account for his worth to Carolina.
Put it this way. Have you ever owned a car that you absolutely loved despite its flaws? You and the car had tons of great trips and memories together. And it still ran just fine. But then it was getting sort of old and you went to a dealership, looked at the new models and asked how much you could get if you traded the car in for something else?
And then the salesman comes back and you are absolutely horrified by his lowball offer. You think to yourself, "This car is worth a lot more to me than it is to someone else. I think I'll just keep it."
That car is Steve Smith at this point in his career. As I wrote in the previous blog post, I'm absolutely fine with the Panthers trading running back DeAngelo Williams at a spot where the team has two other solid backs. But Brandon LaFell isn't consistent enough yet to be a No.1 receiver in the NFL, and the Panthers certainly don't want to have to start Louis Murphy as a No.2 guy. His hands aren't consistent enough.
Smith requested a trade in 2010 after the 2-14 season, but that wasn't granted and he ultimately made peace in returning to the Panthers, especially once they drafted Cam Newton. He told media members in the Panther locker room Wednesday that he planned to finish his career in Carolina. Of course, it's ultimately not his choice -- he doesn't have any sort of no-trade clause. Smith said Sunday after the Panthers dropped to 1-6 that the losing had grown "monotonous" and "tiresome." But No.89 can still play and can still scare defenses, and the Panthers' off-and-on offense still needs him desperately. The Panthers should not trade him. As for DeAngelo? See the blog post just below this one -- I'm fine with that.